This Happens Maybe Once in a Lifetime ~ BitterSweetLife

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This Happens Maybe Once in a Lifetime

There is something about sleep that makes me painfully aware of the hair-trigger causality of the world. You know, a butterfly flaps its wings in Tokyo, a baby wakes up in North Kansas City, that sort of thing.

Sleep used to be something that happened at a certain time of the day--like breathing, but less frequent. There were soothing patterns of waking and sleeping called Circadian Rhythms, and I had rhythm. Waking and sleeping with percussive regularity, I danced through the week with energy. But no longer. The Rhythm has changed to Aidanian here--and it's not a dance, it's running full speed until you fall flat on your face. Sleep. I knew him once, Horatio.

This makes nap time a fragile, magical time. At these times, after long, uncertain intervals, the planets will align themselves, and beautiful, rare wonders will transpire. Today, I experienced something rarer than Haley's Comet. I don't expect to see it again in my lifetime. In fact, I feel privileged just to have been an observer--a participant, actually--in a Household-Wide Nap. Words can hardly do justice to this phenomenon. Scientists actually thought the Household-Wide Nap was extinct, until they found a small colony of them surviving in the deep jungles of equatorial Guinea.

These creatures are fragile, I knew that. So this morning, when I realized the shy, quiet Nap was present in our loft, I did everything I could to make it show itself. It was 10 a.m. Lindsay was asleep in our bed after a night punctuated by Aidan and Asher. I was lying on the futon under a blanket after a night punctuated by Aidan and Asher. Aidan was asleep in his bed after a night spent waking up and a morning spent rubbing his eyes. Asher was asleep in his favorite disc chair after a night spent eating and a morning spent eating. At this point, the Nap first showed its nose, and the delicate, infinite causality of the universe rushed in on me.

If Asher's pacifier fell out of his mouth, one wail would instantly wake Aidan, ruining everything. (I moved Asher's chair right next to my futon and kept a hand near his face to cover this very contingency.) If Aidan reached for Curly the Bear in his sleep, and did not feel that fuzzy teddy fur at his elbow, he would come instantly awake, complaining about the unfairness of a world where bears were somnambulists. Or if a butterfly flapped its wings... I shuddered, and hugged myself under my blanket.

It was at that moment that the Household-Wide Nap stepped into the open. It was ocean blue, I think, with graceful silver wings that fanned the room with soft spring breezes. Ask me another time, and I'll say the Nap was glowing vermilion, or mysterious teal--or maybe I'll just smile and admit that I don't remember exactly what the Nap looked like, only that it was beautiful, and that I'll never forget it, as long as I live.

The Nap stood in our loft, looking around timidly but happily, for perhaps thirty golden minutes, and then moved on.

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colleen said...

this made me deliciously sleepy. which would be great if i wasn't in class.

Jen in Budapest said...

Power naps in college were the best! I can still do them when pressed...oh the joy, the bliss.

johnarie said...

Beautiful, just beautiful prose, son--I haven't read such an extended, artfully executed personification in a long time. It's exhilarating to the soul. Mom


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife